In order to be safely moved, grandfather clocks need to be dismantled carefully and packed correctly. It is precise and delicate work and we therefore suggest you hire a professional – such as Amber Moves – to do this properly. However, if you are prepared for the challenge, here are steps you can follow. Good luck.
What you’ll need:
- Cotton gloves
- Original clock packaging – or make your own:
- Bubble wrap
- Strong cardboard boxes
Rule 1: Never move the clock with its weights and pendulum attached – not even across a room – as this will damage the mechanical movement. It’s highly likely that the pendulum will break the glass case while it’s swinging if the pendulum doesn’t get broken first.
- Remove the pendulum. If it’s made of brass use cotton gloves, as the sweat from your hands can leave marks and damage it. This applies to all glass and brass pieces. As you remove the pendulum, be careful not to damage the suspension springs where the pendulum meets the clock’s movement. Once removed, wrap in bubble wrap and pack into its original Styrofoam box or create your own by wrapping it in bubble wrap to prevent damage during transportation.
- Detach the weights (but make sure the chains and cables do not get mixed up) and label their position (i.e. left, centre, right) because their weights are not the same and mixing them up will affect the clock’s performance and damage the movement. Pack the weights separately in bubble wrap and box. Do not put them in the clock case.
- As you remove the weights, make sure that the chains and cables don’t get intertwined or snap back into the mechanism. Tape the cables to a piece of cardboard to keep them aligned and prevent from crossing over.
- If the clock has any removable glass shelves or ornaments, these must be removed and wrapped appropriately in bubble wrap and placed in their own labelled box before wrapping the main body of the clock. It’s strongly recommended that you make a clearly labelled box for any keys from the clock. Do not attach the keys to the case or leave in the clock.
- Make a customised wooden crate or cardboard box for the clock. The clock should be completely wrapped in bubble to prevent scratches from occurring before putting it in the box. Add extra padding around the clock (top, bottom, and sides) to prevent movement during transit. Label the box with appropriate labels and keep in upright position.
- Always consider your clock’s individual configuration. Older clocks often have a sliding hood which needs to be detached if removable and packed separately. In this case, the clock’s mechanism becomes exposed and needs extra care and protection (i.e. wrapping before being put into its customised box).
Always refer to the manufacturer’s specifications so that the above guideline can be customised to your clock’s make and model.